What’s the One Thing You Must NEVER Include on a CV?

This week, we asked you what is the number 1 thing you should never include in your CV? You got back to us saying generally avoid irrelevant information, plus Selfies!

Think about the job you’re applying to- do they really need to see your best night-out pictures? Do they need to know the names of your three cats, or when you left primary school?

Be ruthless with information you share. Get to the point, straightforward and emanate confidence. This will save a recruiter time.

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Here are the replies we received throughout Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus:


On Twitter we received the following replies. The most interesting response was from @Louisasmudge, who claims that she’s been told not to include anything related to her religious beliefs:


Samantha Burgess is the first commenter in the discussion, with a vital point on avoiding irrelevant information:

Samantha Burgess Talent Acquisition Manager at Swarovski Family status such as “I’m 42, married with two children both boys aged 10 and 13” it’s completely irrelevant information when applying for a job.

Samantha Jones adds a perfect example of what not to include in a CV!

Samantha Jones   Currently hiring at Secure Data Recycling, SWRD Group   Ha, agreed Samantha, see this excerpt from an application received last week, for a Telesales Executive: “I enjoy time spent with my wife ***** and my children ***** and ***** from a previous relationship. ***** and I have a number of shared interests including world cinema and cooking, although I am very much *****’s student in the kitchen” Why?? 🙂

Samantha Burgess  Talent Acquisition Manager at Swarovski   Hahaha! Photos and hobbies really frustrate me as well!! I feel sorry for candidates as there is some shoddy advice out there to support you writing your CV but I do just wish people would think about the job that they are applying too and what they think the person screening their CV needs to know.

Robin Stanton agreed with avoiding irrelevant information, along with never including inaccurate or outdated information. Recruiters considering strong candidates leave no stone unturned!

Robin Stanton, CDR   Linking people to opportunities to make a difference ♦ @Jobbin_Robin   I agree with both Samantha’s, personal information should be left out. You should also never include inaccurate/outdated information. A resume that says XYZ Company 8/2012 – Present and then when you speak to the person you find out that they left XYZ in 2/2014, but didn’t update their resume to reflect they are no longer employed (or at UVW Company since 8/2014) is an example of this.

It seems obvious, but please don’t include awkward selfies! Abby Robbin explains:

Abby Robbins   Recruitment Partner at Yellow Bricks, 01628 566 447   A ‘selfie’ photo, I am seeing this more and more. It’s just awkward and not required, I would never pass a CV to a client with a photo attached and always explain to the offenders why this is not cool!

Kim Bonavia gives a slightly different opinion to the discussion, explaining that she landed a job due to mentioning her hobbies at the end of her CV, as it gave the interview an added discussion point.

Kim Bonavia Recruitment Specialist, IT, Telco, Gaming, Hospitality industries, Customer Service, Account Mgt, Candidate Mgt   Agreed with all of the above, although having said that I did get a job once because of the hobbies I had listed at the END of my CV. It helped build rapport with the hirer as it was something different and we both had in common. So from that perspective, I don’t mind hobbies too much, so long as they are at the VERY END of the CV.

Melissa George reiterates the anti-selfie movement Abby Robbins began:

Melissa George
  Consultant – Temporary Recruitment (Commercial)   A profile picture on your CV that is clearly a selfie. You would be surprised at the number of CV’s that I have received that have ‘Saturday night’ selfies attached. Not professional by any means.

Robert Taylor adds to the selfie discussion. Photos on CV are largely agreed to be unnecessary in most vacancies and a distraction.

Robert Taylor   Co-Founder of Pure Resume | Senior Digital/UX Designer | Entrepreneur   A photo of yourself as it could lead to potential discrimination issues and from a U/X angle the eye is drawn to faces, so it could be a distraction from your key skills. Plus Recruiters/Employers will always check your LinkedIn profile (and other social media platforms, such as Facebook) where they are able to see your photo anyway.

Jennifer Nelson believes that whilst CV errors should be avoided by candidates, it is the responsibility of recruiters to potentially look past such problems to focus on the abilities of the candidate. “I used to recruit for IT professionals – they are not hired for their resume writing ability but for their technical skills.”

Jennifer (Jenni) Nelson   Talent Acquisition; Recruitment Model Review and Design; Business Analyst; and Trainer   I agree with the comments, although I think as recruiters, we should look past the resume blunders and be skilled to look for the talent. I used to recruit for IT professionals – they are not hired for their resume writing ability but for their technical skills.

Christopher Thoman echos Jennifer Nelson’s point above – as he works with many strong candidates that are let down by their CV.

Christopher M. Thoman   Executive Recruiter/Principal at Kaylin Search Partners   To the point of this topic….what are you all doing with resumes that need work?? I do work with strong candidates that fall short in the resume area. To help leverage my time better I have been looking for a skilled resume writer/editor that has experience in my areas of placement (finance/accounting) that I can get my candidates over to that really need it. Any thoughts or input here would be great. Thank you.

Ben Chua   Social Media Community Manager  Your non-smiling ID picture. 😀

Ana Sofía Guajardo Cienfuegos says keep qualifications and academic experience focused. Consider carefully what qualifications are relevant.

Ana Sofía Guajardo Cienfuegos   Recruitment Specialist at ITESM Campus Monterrey   I agree with all the above. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter that much the information about elementary school. I think only with the Major and Master degree (in case of) is enough.

William W. Sanders   International Development Recruiter | Freelance Resume Specialist   Objective statements, closely followed by professional references. We know you want the job; that’s why you applied. And most applications ask for references so you can use that space for more pertinent information. 🙂

Julie Edmondson follows on from Robin Stanton’s point of making sure all dates and information is correct and up-to-date.

Julie Edmondson   Sales Director at Perfect Fit People Ltd   Most of the above; dates that are wrong; unaccountable gaps in employment, spelling mistakes, photographs and hobbies / interests (unless requested by the client). I think format of a CV tells us a lot about the candidate

Rish Baruah makes a great point about including some personality professionally in your CV. Including in his CV that he played in a band impressed a manger so much that he got a job.

Rish Baruah
  Careers Consultant at Nottingham Trent University   As a Careers Consultant, I encourage students to use “Interests and Achievements” rather than “Hobbies and Interests” – this allows you to showcase what you like doing in a positive way, rather than the bland “I like reading and socialising”. Incidentally, I got a job on the basis of this section once; I mentioned playing in a band, and the manager said that he liked me including that in my CV, and it stuck in his mind 🙂

Donta Moore says leaving out information not relevant to your current career goals is vital. Retail experience from when you were 14 years-old isn’t going to be relevant if your occupation is rocket scientist. 

Donta’ The Connector Moore   Technical Recruiting Consultant at Rhapsody International   This is simple DOB, marital/family status, and High School. I would also say leave out dated information that is not inline with your current career goals. Example: If you are a Software Development Engineer, we do not need to see the time you spent working fast food 10 years ago on your resume.

Google Plus:

On Google Plus, Link Humans Jörgen Sundberg reiterated that leaving out a photo and age is avoiding a headache. Recruitwheels also reiterates that leaving out personal details is recommended.

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By Robbie Palmer